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Thor's Hammer 



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Thor's Hammer 



Written By: Rex Krueger 



TOOLS: 



0000 steel wool (1) 

1-1/4" spade bit (1) 

2-1/2 inch holesawM) 

Drill, or drill press (1) 

Putty knifed) 

Router and 3/8" round-over bit (optional) 

m 

Table saw (1) 

sandpaper, 220 grit (1) 

small round file (1) 

triangular file (1) 

wood clamps, various sizes (1) 



PARTS: 



2x4 lumber, about 40" (1) 

3/8" exteior plywood (about a square 
foot) (1) 

1-1/4" dowel (24" long) (1) 

1"PCV pipe cap (1) 

rustoleum "hammered finish" silver paint 

(11 

acrylic silver craft paint for wood and 

plastic (1) 

spray-on clear satin acrylic (1) 

Wood glue (1) 

Epoxy, quick-setting (1) 

small paint brush (1) 

Masking tape (1) 

wood putty/wood filler (1) 



SUMMARY 

I'm not usually one to build film props, but my wife and I were waiting on line for the new 
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Thor's Hammer 

Avengers movie and she said, "You know, it would be great to have Thor's hammer." She 
wasn't the least bit serious, but her remark got the old maker gears spinning. 

As soon as we got home, I was off to the internet, where I found several different designs for 
home-made versions of Mjolnir (the actual Norse name for Thor's legendary weapon). The 
designs I found were typically of the cardboard-and-foam variety; nice enough to look at, but 
too flimsy to last for longer than a single costume party. I wanted something that would have 
more heft and look more realistic, even if I'm only going to be swinging it around the house. I 
didn't find many designs that fit the bill, but I do have to give a shout-out to the prop-maker 
Blind Squirrel, who has a nice description of his hammer here: 
http://blindsquirrelprops.blogspot.eom/2... 

For my own Mjolnir, I tried to compromise between fidelity to the film prop and ease of 
construction. My finished product is different from the film version in a few ways. It's less 
decorated and has a carved wood handle rather than a leather-wrapped design. I also 
changed the proportions a bit. The film prop hammer is a bit more square where mine is 
rectangular, but this design allows the hammerhead to be constructed out of simple pieces 
of 2x4. 

I'm providing specific measurements here, but this project is easy to modify. You can 
change the size or proportions of the hammer to suit you. Personally, I would be impressed 
to see someone do the black scroll-work found on the actual prop. 

In the meantime, this is a good project for anyone with moderate woodworking skills. The 
one tool you really need is a good table-saw; something with a fence that will allow you to 
make very precise and repeatable cuts. Most of the rest of the work can be accomplished 
with hand-tools and creativity. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 1 — Thor's Hammer 




• Cut four 9" lengths of 2x4. Use your saw's fence and make sure the pieces are pretty 
exact. I used Lowe's "select whitewood" because it was cheap, but any 2x4 will do. 

• If necessary, square the ends with a sanding block and some coarse-grit sandpaper. 



Step 2 




• Cut the 3/8" plywood into two 9x6 
rectangles and two 4x6 rectangles. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 3 




• Glue the pieces of 2x4 together. You can use any good wood glue, but I prefer Titebond. 

• You know you have used enough glue if some squeezes out on the ends. Be sure to wipe 
the excess glue off while it's still wet. 

Step 4 




• Glue the plywood to the block of 2x4s. Use as many clamps as necessary to keep the 
clamping force even. You really don't want the plywood to bend or buckle as it dries. Don't 
worry too much about lining the edges up perfectly since we'll be cutting them off in a later 
step anyway. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 5 



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• While the glue dries, sand the 
dowel down to 220 grit and stain 
about 24" of it. You probably want 
to go with a dark color to get that 
old, weathered look. I used Minwax 
oil-based Mahogany, but any dark 
color is fine. Don't cut the dowel. 
It's easier to work on the stained 
portion if it's still attached to the 
rest of the dowel. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 6 





• You'll need to cut three bevels to turn this block of wood into a credible hammerhead. In 
the picture, I've labeled them "edge," "face," and "shelf." These cuts are the toughest part 
of the whole project. They require precision and a little bit of setup. 

• Tilt your saw blade to 45 degrees. Lay a straight-edge along the blade and use a fine- 
tipped marker to make a small mark in-line with the blade at the front edge of the table. 
We'll use this mark to align the block and make the cuts. 

• You may have to make the following cuts without the blade-guard so BE CAREFUL. 
People cut themselves badly on table saws literally every day, so don't take 
chances. Use the guard whenever possible. Use a riving knife if you have one. Use a push 
stick for the long cuts. Buy/make one if you don't have one already. I made these cuts 
using a safety saw, so be extra careful if you don't have access to one of these. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 7 













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• Make the "face" cut by making a mark 3/4" from the corner on one end of the block. 

• Align this mark with the mark you previously made on on the saw table. Bring the fence in 
on the right so that it fits snugly against the long side of the block. 

• Make the first cut and check to be sure it's straight and deep enough. If you are happy with 
your cut, do the parallel edge and then the same edges on the other end. Save the shortest 
cuts for last, since these are the toughest to do while keeping the block squarely against 
the fence. 

• I practiced this cut on a piece of scrap before cutting the block. Practicing on scrap is an 
especially good idea if (like me) you haven't made a lot of angled cuts before. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 8 




• At this point, your block should 
look like this. Now we're going to 
make the "edge" cuts. 

• Mark your block 1/2" from one 
corner. Align this mark with the 
mark on the table as in the 
previous step. Bring in the fence 
and make your cut. 

• If you are happy with this cut, 
make the other 3. If you set up the 
saw properly, you should be able to 
make all 4 cuts without changing 
anything. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 9 





• To make the "shelf" cut, return your saw blade to perpendicular and set it so that it only 
protrudes 3/16" above the surface of the table. Align the mark on the saw with the top edge 
of the face bevel you just made and make a cut. 

• Make the same cut around the rest of the face bevels. You will now have a series of 
shallow cuts right at the edge of the face bevel. All you need to do now is make another 
cut perpendicular to these first cuts. Set your saw at about 7/8" (exact measurements may 
vary) and cut in so that the very top edge of you new cut meets your last cut and you 
make a neat right angle that runs around the whole face. 

• All of this sounds complicated in print, but it's not hard at all. If you look at the picture and 
see the finished product, you'll get the idea. 

• If this step seems too difficult, feel free to skip it and the next one. Your hammer will still 
look great. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 10 




• You can get the edge bevel to continue onto the hammer face by trimming off the corners 
of the face bevel. Just slide a sharp razor in at a 45-degree angle until it meets the shelf 
and then cut off the chip you just made by sawing down along the shelf. 

• You are now done shaping your hammer-head. It should look similar to the picture. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 11 




• The sides and faces of the hammer-head will be easy to finish, but cutting the bevels 
exposes end-grain wood, which can absorb much more paint and still look rough. On many 
projects, we would solve this problem with thorough sanding, but over-sanding on the 
hammer-face will destroy the nice, straight lines we've worked so hard to create. 

• To reinforce the end-grain, make a mixture of wood glue and water. I use a 50/50 mix and 
try to get it to the thickness of milk. Brush the mixture on the end-grain of the bevels and 
allow to dry for several hours. 

• When the glue dries, apply a thin coating of wood putty to any exposed end-grain. Use the 
edge of the putty knife to get even coverage and flat surfaces. Make sure all the lines still 
look sharp and defined. 

• Let the putty dry overnight and then sand lightly with a sanding block and 220-grit paper. 
You can sand the shelf with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a small wood block with 
a square edge. 

• Sand the rest of the hammer-head with the block and 220 paper. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 12 




• Pick one narrow side of the 
hammerhead to be the bottom. Find 
the center of this side and use the 
1-1/4" spade-bit to drill a hole 
roughly 2" deep. The exact depth 
doesn't matter because you haven't 
cut the handle yet. 

• Because of the height of the block, 
you may need to be a little creative 
with your clamps. I used several 
pieces of scrap wood and two bar- 
clamps to secure the block to my 
drill-press table. 



Step 13 




• To make the cap for the top of the 
hammerhead, cut a 2-1/2" disk of 
1/2" plywood, screw it to a stable 
surface, and bevel it with a router 
and a 3/8" round-over bit. 

• Or, if that sounds like a pain (and it 
was), just cut the disk out of 3/8 
plywood and sand the edges a bit. 
If I were doing it again, I'd go this 
route. 

• Glue the cap to the top of the 
hammerhead. 

• The hammerhead is done for now. 
Set it aside. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 14 






• Time to decorate the handle. You can do any design, but I chose a combination of circles 
and a spiral because they mimicked a leather-wrapped handle. 

• Before you decorate, decide on the length of handle you want to extend out from the 
hammerhead. Remember that about two inches of the handle will be inside the 
hammerhead and another inch or so will be inside the PVC cap. Mark these points on the 
dowel and be sure to do your decorating only on the area that will be visible after the parts 
are fitted together. 

• To make a circle, wrap the dowel with two bands of masking tape, about 1/8" apart. Start a 
groove between the bands with the triangular file. You can then widen and smooth the 
groove a number of ways. I used a bass-guitar string held with a pair of vise-grips, but a 
small, round file will work, too. 

• You can do a spiral the same way. Just wind a single, long piece of tape so that the edges 
are about 1/8" apart. Keep the masking tape on the whole time you are working on each 
groove to protect the finished wood. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 15 




• As you finish each groove, peel off the tape and check to make sure that you didn't 
damage the stain on the edges of the groove. Small scrapes can be fixed with a little stain 
on a toothpick. 

• Re-mask the grooves and paint them with the silver acrylic paint and a small brush. Let 
each groove dry for about 1/2 hour and then peel off the masking tape. 

• When the grooves are all decorated, spray the whole handle with several coats of clear 
acrylic. Let it dry for an hour and then buff lightly with steel wool. Sand the finish off the 
part of the handle that will be inside the hammer-head. Cut the handle to length. 

• Sand any lettering or markings off of the PVC cap, paint it with the Rustoleum Hammered 
Finish Silver Paint, and let it dry for at least an hour. When it's dry, scuff the inside of the 
cap with sandpaper and epoxy the cap to the end of the handle. You may need a small 
shim to make it fit snugly. I used a strip of plastic from a drill-bit package. Allow the whole 
handle to cure overnight. 



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Thor's Hammer 



Step 16 




• Spray the hammerhead with the 
Rustoleum. You don't need to 
prime, but you do need two coats 
for the full "hammered metal" 
effect, which really helps keep the 
hammer from looking like painted 
wood. I recommend doing each 
surface one at a time. Lay the 
hammerhead so that whatever 
surface you are spraying is facing 
up. Paint with even strokes and 
aim for a moderately heavy finish. 
Let each side dry for an hour 
before moving on. 



Step 17 




• Coat the end of the handle with 
wood glue and insert it into the 
hammerhead. Dry-fit the parts 
together before you add glue. If the 
fit is very tight, file some small 
channels into the sides of the 
handle to let glue and air escape as 
you insert the handle. Stand the 
hammer on its head and allow it to 
dry overnight before handling. 



Now you can impress your friends with your sick hammer-making skills. You might not have 
Thor's abs, but at least you can swing his hammer. 



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Thor's Hammer 



This document was last generated on 2012-11-03 03:01:52 AM. 



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